Entertaining Despite our Circumstances
- providing amusement or enjoyment.
Entertaining. A word that so many people try to avoid at all costs.
It’s stressful, I get it! Preparing meals, spending money, cleaning the house, decorating according to the season, and proving entertainment throughout the evening. PHEW. Completely and utterly tiring. Can you do me a favor? Re-read the above definition of entertaining. What does it say? Providing amusement or enjoyment. That’s it! I don’t see anywhere in the definition that says spend money, make it fancy, invite the president. sometimes we focus so hard on the negative factors that we often forget that there are positives too!
I acknowledge that entertaining is not everyone’s gift. Some naturally enjoy it more than others WHICH IS OKAY. But just because someone has a knack for it more than us doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also do it. I’ll explain later…
So, what do I consider entertaining? I consider entertaining far more than the given definition from society. I see entertaining as any opportunity we reach out to others from the comfort of our own home. An example of this could be a game night, an Hors D’oeuvre get together, a wine and paint night with the ladies, a movie night, OR maybe a classic feast. Entertaining is providing a location, a given food, and some fun!
Is the word joy in entertaining? If not, it should be! EnterJOYing. As a hostess, finding joy is all in our attitude. Keeping positive thoughts, not comparing our party to previous parties you have attended and keeping a humbling attitude. We cannot expect to host a party with an attitude of “I need to out-do Sally’s party” and feel joy after two hours of cooking. We cannot host a party with the attitude of “My house is small and old, nobody is going to feel welcomed here”. This kind of attitude is not what God calls of us. If we are continually comparing ourselves, we will never be happy. I will never have the biggest house, the nicest car, the fanciest decor BUT what I do have is a giving heart full of Jesus and that’s good enough for me.
Still not convinced? Let me start from the beginning. The bible has over 57 different verses that reference to the word feast. Some examples of using the word feast are Genesis 29:22, Genesis 21:8, Luke 15:23-24, Exodus 34:22, and so much more. Jesus was a FABULOUS entertainer. He went from town to town and attended many feasts. Much of the time Jesus used these feasts to teach a lesson. Gathering around the table to feast slows people down enough so that they may hear something more than their own beating heart. We tend to be more open to new ideas when our bellies are full and are hearts are happy, right? So entertaining is great for discipleship which I’m assuming Jesus was well aware of. Why else would He spend countless hours eating with people who were NOT always His followers.
We should think of entertaining as a time to reach out to those in need. It doesn’t matter who it is, everyone is struggling with something: finances, marriage, children, death, anxiety, depression, etc. Entertaining provides a place for a person to relax and let another take care of their needs for a change. Hypothetically, everyone eats three meals a day — give or take– therefore providing a meal and an atmosphere for people is not an unusual ordeal because.. well.. everyone eats! And I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume everyone loves to eat!
I love going to a nice restaurant. Don’t you? They pour my water, they provide me with a meal, they clear up my dishes, and they make me a fancy dessert. I’m SO needy! The only thing I don’t care for is the big, fat, check at the end. It’s so relaxing to go out with your honey and eat the night away. The same goes for providing entertainment for someone else. It provides a (somewhat) relaxing atmosphere and a means for escape. It provides rest for the person attending so that they may cook one less meal that day.
How great is that? We are providing joy and also creating joy in ourselves by doing what God called us to do. The bible does not say to take care of only Fred and George. We are ALL called to take care of God’s people! So, I’m assuming this means we should ALL provide some sort of entertaining.
With that said — below I provided a couple cheat sheets and resources to help ease into the idea of entertaining.
Entertaining is NOT about spending all of your savings. Here is a list provided by partiesforpennies of the cheaper meats you can use for you meals. I love to use chicken because A) it’s cheaper B) it can create some elegant looking dishes.
Don’t have the time to make scrapbook-ish place settings and don’t want to spend on them? These leaf place settings are a cute alternative! All you need is leaves and a gold paint pen.
Sometimes we just want to have a get-together without a ton of food. This paint party idea is a cute alternative! Dish out a cheese board and some paints for the perfect ladies night. Also provided by LaCrema!
There is NO NEED to hire a professional to play at your party. Advice from someone who studied piano in college. Although it adds charm, if you’re tight on a budget and not creating a world-class BALL i’d suggest sticking to a classy radio station. The Erica Reitman blog created a now popular list on Pinterest for entertainment stations on Pandora. You can check it out HERE. I wouldn’t recommend all of these stations but I do like Frank Sinatra so that is definitely a MUST in my book.
Want to make a cheese platter but now sure how? Iowagirleats provides some tips and a cheat sheet for creating the ideal cheese platter. One trick I have learned is to use unscented dental floss to cut cheese. It slides right through and creates the perfect straight line!
Buzzfeed compiled an awesome post that has cheat sheets for 21 different things including checking how done your steak is by touch, how to make the perfect bow, a cheese board (again), checking the ripeness of your avocados, how much to serve at a party (picture above) and a dining etiquette diagram (picture below). Check it out HERE
I find that white dishes add extra class. They are usually not any more expensive than colored dishes and they provide a really clean, bright look. TJ Max has an amazing selection of white serving dishes that are around the $5-$10 range. I have bought the majority of my white serving dishes from TJ Max.
— Side note: If I am hosting a semi-fancy dinner, I like to garnish the food with “ornaments” to make everything have an upscale feel. Examples of ornaments on food would be fresh herbs, croutons, chocolate or Parmesan shavings, olive oil… You know, things that you can add on top of your food to make food art! Even something that is completely not fancy such as tacos can look more upscale with a small branch of Rosemary over-top the meat dish.
Party favor: Although much of the thinking today is “why do I need to provide gifts?”, I believe that since I am hosting a party as a means of reaching out to others I should also provide them with a token of my gratitude. It doesn’t have to be big! Sometimes all I do is let my guests take the left over food home and other times I will make a small favor. My go-to favor is a small party bag of this salted caramel popcorn, I absolutely LOVE it. Plus, every time I serve it I am showered with compliments. This recipe is easy and delicious.
I hope these cheat sheets help you out or at least help your fear a little! Remember, none of these things make you a great hostess. You are already a great hostess by opening your doors!
Do you have any cheat sheets or resources you go by for hostessing? Please share them below!